Communication restrictions and legal battle: AbzasMedia’s journalists remain in prison

Seninj Vagifqizi and Ulvin Hasanli. Foto: Meydan TV

AbzasMedia’s director, Ulvi Hasanli, and editor-in-chief Sevinj Vagifgizi, grapple with severe communication limitations following their recent arrests, triggering concerns about their treatment and the legality of these imposed restrictions.

During a meeting at the Kurdakhani Detention Center, Lawyer Agil Layj highlighted Sevinj Vagifqizi’s distress over a five-day arrest without any communication, stressing that their detention was solely related to their journalistic work.

An enforced three-month communication restriction by an investigator at the Baku City Police Department faced opposition from Hasanli and Vagifgizi’s legal team, gearing up to appeal. Additionally, Lawyer Elchin Sadigov sought intervention from the European Court of Human Rights to safeguard their rights.

Today, Ulvi Hasanli contested a four-month preventive measure during the preliminary investigation, refuting smuggling charges and asserting the arrests were linked to AbzasMedia’s corruption investigations. Despite protests and calls for investigation without detention, the Baku Court of Appeal, chaired by Anar Ibrahimov, upheld the decision, maintaining Hasanli’s detention.

Similarly, Sevinj Vagifqizi challenged a three-month, 29-day pretrial detention, citing political motives due to her investigations into high-ranking officials’ corruption. Seeking house arrest, she and her legal team objected to violations of her right to presumption of innocence. However, the Baku Appellate Court, led by Judge Habil Mammadov, extended her pretrial detention despite their arguments.

Allegations of mistreatment, particularly from Ulvi Hasanli, have emerged, prompting concerns about delayed medical examinations related to these claims. AbzasMedia alleges politically motivated arrests and remains committed to its investigative work. At the same time, the situation is complicated by aggressive pro-government media claims about the receiving of Western funds, including references to USAID.

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